Contrast Expressions

How to use "in contrast" and "unlike" correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

The expression contrasting with is a clumsy way to introduce a statement of difference. Use one of these other expressions instead: unlikein contrast to, or in contrast with. (To is more common than with in this expression, but both are idiomatically correct.)

Contrasting with her, I think the movie Step Brothers is funny.

Unlike her, I think the movie Step Brothers are funny.
In contrast to/with her, I have an actual sense of humor.

As a verb, contrast should be used with the preposition with:

contrast one thing with another thing

For information about the usage of different from and different than, see Different from vs. Different than page.

For information about how to use unlike correctly at the beginning of a sentence, see the Like vs. For Example page.

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.